Skyscraper focuses on a drawn out fight between Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and his latest nemesis: an extremely high-tech skyscraper filled with fire. It’s a battle for the ages filled more plot lines than a guy Ritchie Gangster flick.
I feel obligated to say that I genuinely enjoy The Rock’s films. It’s not that I think they’re great pieces of cinema, but in terms of easy going popcorn films they are continuously fun. I thought Jumanji was very enjoyable and his most recent film Rampage, while ridiculous, was a lot of fun. What I think works well about them is that they play to Johnson’s strength. Yes, he is an action hero but they pace the film throughout with jokes and gags that ensure you don’t take the film too seriously. This is where Skyscraper makes its misstep.
In the third act Johnson says ‘This is ridiculous!’ in regards to the stunt he is about to perform. In another one of his films it would have been played for laughs, as would most of his one liners after disarming a bad guy or completing some incredible feat, but here it is played seriously. I think people go and see The Rock’s movies because they are fun too watch, they aren’t looking for an epic and serious story.
The movie begins with a pretty intense hostage situation where we find Will Sawyer (Johnson) as a member of the rescue team. The mission leaves him scarred, emotionally and physically, and we are transported forward several years to where he is now, working as a security analyst. In an unbelievable turn, his tiny company has won the contract to analyse the security for the newly built Pearl skyscraper. With its state of the art control systems and abilities usually reserved for out and out sci-fi films, the Pearl is the tallest and most expensive building in history. However, we quickly learn there is a plot to destroy the building and that Sawyer’s family are stuck inside. The only person that can stop all of this and save his family is Will Sawyer.
This is the plot the trailer gives away but the actual film is far more convoluted and quiet unnecessarily so. It’s full of characters with ulterior motives and random maguffins that mean nothing to the audience, but all of this would be forgivable in a film that knew it was ridiculous. If all the film was was Dwayne Johnson trying to get his family out of a building and beating up the bad guys in his way it wouldn’t be a great film but it would be a simple and fun watch. At points this film is nauseatingly full of unnecessary characters and motives that just don’t seem to add up, let alone seem in any way consequential.
The Rock remains likeable in this generic action flick but it is a very badly constructed film that would only really serve a use on a very long flight if you had see the other options. It’s not new and you’ve seen all of its parts done better elsewhere.
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